The Ultimate Guide to Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Germany | Best Options, Cost of Living for International Students in 2024

Master's Degree in Germany

Germany, recognized globally for its exceptional education system and world-renowned universities, stands as a destination for international students. It boasts more than 350 higher education institutions with over 20,000 different study programs, and there are over 250,000 international students in Germany each year.

This guide covers everything you need to know as an international student pursuing a Master’s degree in Germany: from program research and admission process, to funding options.

Why Pursue a Master’s Degree in Germany

  1. Academic Excellence: German universities are renowned for their rigorous academic standards and groundbreaking research.
  2. Career Advantages: A master’s degree from a German institution holds significant global recognition, enhancing your career prospects.
  3. Scholarship Opportunities: Germany offers numerous scholarships for international students, easing financial burdens.
  4. Strong Research and Industry Ties: With close connections to various industries, Germany provides exceptional opportunities for research and practical learning.
  5. Diverse Program Selection: With over 20,000 study programs available, Germany offers a wide array of options tailored to your academic and professional aspirations.

Applying for a Master’s degree in Germany as an international student can be exciting but involves several steps. Here’s a breakdown to guide you:

Master’s Degree in Germany: Program Selection and Application

Explore university websites to find programs that match your interests. Consider factors like program curriculum, language requirements (English or German), location, and career prospects.

To apply to your desired universities, you’ll most likely need an account with the online application portal your university is using.

The most common ones are Hochschulstart and uni-assist.

  • Hochschulstart is mostly used if you’ve already completed a degree in Germany, or if you’re from EU/EEA/Switzerland. You can create a Hochschulstart account free of charge.
  • uni-assist is used by around 170 German universities, and it includes a €75 application fee for the first Master’s you apply for, and €30 for every other program.
  • Sometimes you may need to apply through both platforms.

There are some instances where you might need to apply directly to a university using their specific platform. Make sure to check the specifics on the university’s application page.

Don’t forget the deadlines!

Prepare your Required Document

Preparing for a Master’s degree in Germany as an international student involves assembling several crucial documents. While specific requirements may vary, here are the key documents international students should focus on:

1. Academic transcripts

  • Official transcripts from your undergraduate degree and any postgraduate studies.
  • Ensure these transcripts include detailed course and grade information.
  • If your studies were not in German or English, official translations might be required. Check your chosen university’s guidelines for specifics.

2. Personal statement

  • A personal statement is your chance to showcase your motivation and suitability for the program.
  • It should articulate your goals and strengths as a candidate for a master’s degree in Germany.

3. Letter(s) of recommendation

  • German universities typically require recommendation letters vouching for your academic competence and potential.
  • Select referees who know you well, like professors or employers.
  • Give your referees ample time to prepare meaningful recommendations.
  • Mention what program/major you need a recommendation for – that way they can optimize their recommendation to that specific purpose.

4. Academic CV/Resume

  • Provide a detailed CV covering your education, work experience, research projects, publications, certifications, and other relevant skills.
  • Focus on experiences and skills pertinent to the Master’s program you are applying for.
  • Keep it concise but comprehensive, avoiding unnecessary filler.

5. Proof of language proficiency

  • For programs in English, proof of proficiency (like IELTS or TOEFL scores) may be required, especially if you’re a non-native speaker.
  • For programs in German, you might need a Goethe Institute certificate, or a university-specific language certificate.
  • Check the specific requirements and minimum scores for your program.

Wait for the Admission Letter

Once your application is submitted, the next step is simply waiting for the university’s decision. While you wait, you might want to brush up on your language skills or start looking into the specific visa and travel requirements for Germany. It’s also a good time to explore accommodation options.

The university will notify you via email about the status of your application, and if you’re accepted, they’ll include the next steps you should follow.

Master’s Degree in Germany: Study Cost

Master’s studies in German public universities are usually free of charge. Private and specialized programs cost between €7,000 and €15,000 per year.

Here’s a breakdown of the tuition fees for Master’s programs at some of the most popular universities in Germany:

Technical University of MunichFree for EU/EEA, €4,000-€6,000 for non-EU/EEA citizens
IU Internation University of Applied SciencesFrom €3,000 to €10,950 per year depending on teaching style
University of StuttgartFree for EU/EEA (€650 per semester if this is your second degree in Germany) and €1,500 per semester for non-EU/EEA citizens
Free University of BerlinFree for most programs, €2,000-€4,000 per semester for a few graduate and postgraduate programs

Semester fee

In Germany, all students at all higher education institutions must pay a semester contribution. This payment has nothing to do with tuition fees; rather, it covers your contributions to student services and the student government (AStA). At many higher education institutions, it also includes a semester ticket that allows you to use public transport in the region.

The semester contribution varies between higher education institutions and comes to between 100 and 350 EUR. It has to be paid when you enrol, and before the start of every new semester. Whether you incur further costs relating to your studies, for example for materials such as specialist books and copies, depends on your subject.

Living expenses

Living costs in Germany can vary depending on the city. On average, you can expect to spend around €800 to €1,200 per month, depending on the city and your lifestyle.

This includes accommodation, food, transport, health insurance, telephone/internet, study materials, and leisure activities.

There are a number of discounts for students. If you can show valid student ID, you will often pay less for tickets to the theatre, museums, opera houses, cinemas, and other cultural institutions.

If you are more of the sporty type, you should take a look at the sports programmes at your higher education institution: Some offers are free of charge for students. For some courses, a participation fee must be paid, but this is usually very reasonable.

Visa requirements

International students often need a visa to enter Germany. Sometimes they also need a residence permit. Whether you need these documents depends on which country you are from and how long you intend to stay

To pursue a master’s degree in Germany, non-EU/EEA citizens need to apply for a Student Visa or a Student Applicant Visa with a valid passport, health insurance, and proof of Financial Resources. The fee is €75.

To apply for a visa, contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find the addresses of the German diplomatic missions on the website of the Federal Foreign Office, which also contains information on exactly which documents you will need. The application forms and any necessary documents can usually be downloaded directly from the websites of the diplomatic missions.

If you have already been accepted to a higher education institution, you can apply for a student visa. If you are still waiting for your letter of acceptance or have to complete an entrance examination, you should apply for a prospective student visa. Prospective student visas are valid for three months and can be extended by six months if you are accepted to a higher education institution or enrol in a foundation course or a preparatory German language course within this period.

Usually required documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Records of previous study and language skills
  • If applicable: letter of acceptance from your higher education institution
  • If applying for a prospective student visa: a recognised higher education entrance qualification
  • Possibly a health certificate

Master’s Degree in Germany: Get Health Insurance

Health insurance is a must for all international students in Germany. You can kickstart this process after receiving your admission letter or once you arrive in Germany.

If your home country has an agreement with Germany, you can often use your current health insurance, typically with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). In some cases, private health insurance from other countries may also be accepted.

Alternatively, you can choose to obtain insurance through a provider in Germany, with student packages usually priced around €120 per month, depending on your age and the provider.

Most international students in Germany prefer to get health insured with DR-WALTER.


See More MSc Scholarship opportunities Click Here

Can I do part-time job while studying Master’s Degree in Germany?

As an international student, studying abroad can be extremely expensive. So, that’s why students are allowed to work part-time. This gives the students some help to handle their day-to-day costs effectively. There are numerous job roles available for international students in Germany. They just need to know the appropriate places to find a suitable job.

Rules & Restrictions for Part-Time Job in Germany for International Students

EU/EEA citizens

Students who are EU/EEA citizens are legally permitted to work:

  • Part-time during their studies, up to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time during study breaks

Non-EU/EEA citizens

International students who come from non-EU/EEA countries can only work 240 half days or 120 full days per year. They can choose to spend this maximum work time either during vacations or school terms.

Where to find a student job

Part-time job opportunities can be found both on campus and in the local community, which can help with covering living expenses.

Universities in Germany often have student services or job portals where you can inquire about available job opportunities. Additionally, student organizations or unions can be valuable resources for job leads.

Another way to find a good job is through friends and acquaintances. Most of the time, students get a job through a referral or a recommendation. When others know the student’s job search, they might also keep an eye on it.

Job Opportunities Available for International Students in Germany

An abundant of part-time jobs in Germany for English speakers and international students. Some on-campus and off-campus jobs are mentioned below:

JobsJob Roles
On-Campus• Tutorial Assistant
• Research Assistant
• Library Supervisor
Off-Campus• Waiter/Waitress
• Bartender
• Babysitters
• Courier
• Tutors
• Trade Fairs
• Cashier

Considerations regarding part-time work for students pursuing Master’s Degree in Germany

It’s important to remember that while working part-time is feasible, the number of jobs available to international students can be limited, and the competition for these positions can be intense. This challenge arises partly due to visa regulations and the administrative processes employers must navigate to hire international students, which can sometimes be more complex than hiring domestic students.

Therefore, it’s advisable to view part-time work as a supplementary source of income rather than the primary means of funding your studies in Germany. This approach will ensure a balanced focus on both your academic pursuits and financial stability.

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